Portfolio > 2021

Acrylic on canvas wrapped panel
36" x 36"

Unjustifiable delight broke the grip of artistic resistance that bound me for years. The thrill of painting things that I accepted as obsessions led me to realize the importance of impulses once dismissed as irrelevant. When Jack-O'-Lanterns nearly became an invasive thought, research introduced me to the Irish legend of "Stingy Jack". Jack was a morally bankrupt man with a notorious reputation. Jack was so wicked that, according to lore, he tricked The Devil twice. On Jack's death, he was clearly unqualified for Heaven. However, The Devil, indignant and vengeful also refused Jack damnation. He insulted Jack, and gave him a hollowed turnip filled with a single coal as a lantern and cursed him to "Find his own Hell." Jack was left to eternally roam, permanently in an "in-between" state. He made the best of his fate and became a ghostly trickster, appearing at night to lure travelers to misfortune with the light from his lantern.

Not only is this legend the origin of Jack-O'-Lanterns as we know them, Jack fascinates me as a character with no place to exist. Psychologically, Jack personifies unintegrated psychic material and repressed content, which resonated with me personally. I also see a parallel between Jack's disembodied status and what we call "Content" in art. The "Form" of a work remains fixed, although aging, like physical remains. But Content is an immaterial product justified with elements of Form (further informed by trending discourse) but not contained in them; "something out there, beyond." This also has everything to do with the painted image. A painted image, for me exists in a similar status of unrest and mischief. I'm no realist, despite appearances. The title of this painting came to me after musing over what it was that, in fact, did attract me to painting from observation. I realized that a painting satisfies me when I "see something that isn't there." Not unlike the appearance of the spirit of Stingy Jack.